Life comes at you fast in the NFL and Canadian Nathan Rourke is experiencing that first-hand.
New York Jets’ franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles tendon four plays into his first start with his new team and the 39-year-old’s season is done. Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, went the rest of the way in an improbable comeback overtime win against the Buffalo Bills, however New York still needs another passer.
The Jets had two quarterbacks on their 53-man active roster entering Week 1 with veteran Tim Boyle on the practice squad. Boyle overlapped with current New York offensive coordinator Nathanial Hackett with the Green Bay Packers, which is presumably why the Jets signed him this past off-season. He’s been active in 16 NFL games with three starts, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 574 yards, three touchdowns, and eight interceptions, all losses.
Clearly, New York needs another QB in-house.
Former CFLer Chris Streveler was with the Jets last season and was in training camp with the team prior to reaching an injury settlement and subsequently being released in August. 15-year NFL veteran Joe Flacco is currently a free agent after spending parts of the last two seasons with the Jets, starting five games over that span with a 1-4 record.
There are also known veteran free agents such as Carson Wentz and Colt McCoy currently available, though both have limited (if any) upside at this point in their careers.
Enter Rourke: a young and intriguing QB who recently made the jump to the NFL.
The Victoria-born, Oakville-raised passer worked out for 12 teams last off-season, though the Jets weren’t one of them. Although there was interest from over two-thirds of the franchises down south, it’s fair to assume New York has done some homework on the 25-year-old.
Rourke signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in January and completed 66 percent of his preseason pass attempts for 348 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions while also carrying the ball 14 times for 39 yards and one rushing touchdown. He went viral in his NFL exhibition debut against the Dallas Cowboys with a spectacular touchdown pass after he broke a number of tackles.
The six-foot-two, 210-pound dual-threat passer cleared waivers and inked a practice squad agreement with the Jags. Practice roster players are free to sign with other NFL teams, but they have to be signed to the 53-man active roster of the acquiring team. A practice roster player cannot be signed to another team’s practice squad unless he is released or waived.
Adding Rourke would be a low-cost, high-reward move for the Jets. He has a similar skillset to Wilson and based on what he’s shown so far in his time in the NFL could learn the playbook quickly. His laser-focused mental approach would serve him well in the Big Apple.